Sat 15 Oct 05

Surf Report # 1

Location: Grand Haven, MI – South Pier
Time: 10:30 am – 2:00 pm
Air Temp: 59 F
Water Temp: 60 F
Wind: From W, WNW 13-23 mph
Waves: 4-7 feet
Gear: 5/3 wetsuit

Yup, first time out. Ever! Waxed up the board last night and caught a ride out to the beach with Dan in his pickup this morning. After a quick stop at Chapter 11 Sports in Spring Lake (so Dan could pick up a leash) we were on our way.

The wind was kicking as much as I’ve ever experienced out at the lake. Rip current seemed extra strong this morning as well. If you let the wind and current suck you, you would be half a mile down the coast in a blink. This was a pain because you had either had to constantly battle the pull or let it take you and get out later to walk back up the beach. Walk back face first into the wind with a sail-like board attached that is.

But really I have no complaints as I had no expectations coming in and I had more fun in those three hours than I’ve had in a long time. The waves were ridiculously big and I got tumbled a number of times. There were also times where I truly couldn’t paddle through those monsters. Just got smacked again and again, then got pulled away as I tried to regain my equilibrium. An equal mix of profanity and laughter to go with the abuse.

At this point I can’t tell you how good the waves were, though the sets were consistent and I did notice some long lines. What I can tell you is that my first time out I caught at least twenty waves, was able to stand up on most of those, and had at least half a dozen extended rides. Are you kidding me? First time out! Now, granted there was no flash in any of this, just rides directly toward shore, but I couldn’t believe how easy and natural everything felt.

I started out in full neoprene glory, wetsuit, gloves, boots, and hood, but dumped everything except the suit after about thirty minutes. Was roasting. After dropping off the extra gear, the comfort level rose dramatically. It’s hard to believe how comfortable sixty degree water can be when you’re moving.

Surfed until I couldn’t walk any more. Then went out for one more session. Then went out for one more wave. Then went out for one last wave. Stumbled back to the car, chugged a Powerade, and basked in the goodness of it all. Should be a great winter.